Harold Clark Simmons Hall and Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall exterior

2023 - 2024

Fall 2024: The Simmons School launches an online graduate degree in the Learning Sciences. The new Master of Science degree program explores the process of learning and the impact of learning environments on that process. Faculty members address cognition theories, instructional design, and uses of technology and AI in learning.

Summer 2024: The Department of Education Policy and Leadership launches it new graduate Principal Certification Program.

Spring 2024: The Department of Teaching and Learning offers the first classes in an Educational Diagnostician specialization program that prepares diagnosticians to identify students with special learning needs and then design individualized instructional programs that redress their needs.

Spring 2024: The Department of Graduate Liberal Studies and Dispute Resolution officially changes their name to Human-Centered Interdisciplinary Studies (HCIS).

Fall 2023: SMU announces a research cluster in the area of technology-enhanced immersive learning (TEIL). In service to this research objective, Simmons recruits three tenure-line professors to collaborate on the development of large-scale TEIL projects that investigate the use of game-based and immersive-learning technologies for assessment, behavior change and social emotional learning, literacy, special education, bilingual/ESL education, urban education, STEM, data science and artificial intelligence/machine learning.


Fall 2022: The Dispute Resolution program merged with the Graduate Liberal Studies programs (MLS & DLS) to form a new department whose offerings examine both the human condition and contemporary problems from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives.

Fall 2022: The US Department of Education’s FY 2021 Education Innovation and Research Competition awarded Professor Leanne Ketterlin Geller an $8 million grant to enhance instructional practices to meet the high needs of students experiencing math difficulties in grades 4-8. The grant is the largest single-year research award in SMU’s history.

Spring 2022: The 2023-24 U.S. News and World Report graduate school ranking places Simmons School in the top 18% of graduate education schools nationally, among the top 12 private schools of education nationally, and as the best private school of education in Texas.

Spring 2022: Record numbers of Simmons professors and doctoral students attend and present at the American Education Research Association (AERA) 2022 Conference.

2011 - 2021

Spring 2021: The 2022 U.S. News and World Report graduate school rankings place the Simmons School in the top 15 of private schools of education nationally and the top 3 of all public and private schools in Texas.

Spring 2020: In response to federal and state directives regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the University moves its administrative and academic operations online in mid-March. The 2nd half of the Spring 2020 courses and all of the Summer I (2020) courses are delivered in a remote-learning format.

2020: Ranked by U.S. News and World Report in the top third of best graduate education schools in the nation and in the top 25 private graduate education schools.

2020: (January) After 50 years and multiple manifestations, the Writer's Path closed its doors in order to allow its director and instructors to devote more time to their publishing careers.

2020: (January) Counseling opens the SMU Center for Family Counseling in Dallas.

2019: Simmons is named a winner in the national XPRIZE competition to develop a smartphone game to teach reading to low-literate adults.

2019: (Summer) Counseling moves to main campus.

2019: (January) The Teacher Development Studio was renamed the Center for VR Learning Innovation to represent the broader focus of the Design and Simulation labs to address all areas of Education and Human Development. The Center focuses on immersive technologies in education broadly, including teacher education, education leadership, applied physiology and medical education.

2018: (Fall) The Toyota USA Foundation, SMU’s Simmons School, and Dallas ISD formed a partnership to develop a K-8th grade STEM-focused school in West Dallas. TheFront entrance of West Dallas STEM school with Think Big statement innovative school opens in fall 2021 with 7th & 8th grades and in subsequent years adds PreK – 6th grades.

2018: (August) Dispute Resolution moves to main campus.

2018: Counseling program becomes CACREP accredited.

2018: (June) Simmons is named as a semi-finalist in the national XPRIZE competition to develop a smartphone game to teach reading to low-literate adults.

2018: Simmons researchers develop a Virtual Reality surgery simulation to train surgeons in Zambia.

2017: (Fall) Master of Science in Health Promotion Management program launched.

2017: (May) The gift of a MakerTruck enables Simmons and Lyle to partner to develop a mobile STEM lab.

2017: (May) Inaugural Paving the Way to Inclusion Conference hosted at The George W. Bush Presidential Center with keynote speaker Gloria Ladson-Billings.

2017: (April) Stephanie Knight, associate dean and professor of education in the College of Education at Pennsylvania State University, named dean of the SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

2017: (March) The Olamaie Curtiss Graney Design Lab was named as part of the Teacher Development Studio.

2016: (September) College Access/SMU became vendor w/DISD for College Knowledge contract.

2016: (June) Simmons Professor Paige Ware is appointed Dean ad interim of the Simmons School.

2016: (June) After 9 years of service to the School, Dean David Chard leaves SMU to become President of Wheelock College in Boston.

2016: (Spring) A $1-million endowment is established to support Simmons faculty positions.

2016: (February) The Teacher Development Studio was created in 2016 with the opening of Harold Simmons Hall. It included a Design Lab, Teaching Simulation Lab and Assessment Lab for teacher education.

2016: (February) Harold Clark Simmons Hall dedicated.The East Entrance of Harold Clark Simmons Hall

2016: (January) The Simmons School's Luminary Awards ceremony is held and honors Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy and Nakia Douglas; Raise Your Hand Texas; and the All Stars Project.

2015: (Fall) The Ed.D. in Education Leadership with 2 tracks—Higher Education and Pre-K through Grade12 Education Leadership—is launched.

2015: (Fall) The Doctor of Liberal Studies (DLS) program is launched as companion program to the MLS.

2015: (Fall) The Health Management concentration in the APSM major is launched.

2015: (Fall) A major in Educational Studies is established; it is the School’s second UG major.

2015: (Fall) In partnership with MINT and the Shelton School, Teaching & Learning creates an M.Ed. specialization in Montessori education.

2015: (January) The Simmons School's Luminary Awards ceremony is held and honors Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College; Scottish Rite Hospital; and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America.

2014: (Fall) The Sport Performance Leadership program is launched.

2014: The Integrative Physiology Laboratory (Department of APW) is designed and opened.

2014: (September) SMU breaks ground on Harold Clark Simmons Hall.

2014: (May) The Center on Communities and Education (CCE) is endowed by Russell and Dori Budd, and the Center’s name is formally changed to The Budd Center: Involving Communities in Education.

2014: (January) The Simmons School's Luminary Awards ceremony is held and honors the East Dallas Community Schools (EDCS), Tex Protects, Children's Defense Fund, and Stand for Children. 

2013: (Fall) The Center on Research and Evaluation (CORE) is established with the objective of providing high-quality evaluation services that improve the well-being of children and families.

2013: (Fall) M.Ed. in Special Education program is launched.

2013: (Fall) M.S. in Sport Management launched in partnership with the Cox School of Business.

2013: (February 21) Announcement of a $25-million gift from Harold C. and Annette Caldwell Simmons to expand the programs and academic positions at the Simmons School of Education and Human Development and fund the construction of Harold Clark Simmons Hall, the second of two Simmons School buildings.

2013: (January) The Simmons School's 2013 Luminary Awards ceremony honored the Dallas Arboretum, Daniel P. King, and America's Promise Alliance.

2012: (November) Department of Education Policy & Leadership's Education Policy and Leadership Conference: "Transitions: Plugging the Leaks in the Pipeline."

2012: (August) The Center on Communities and Education (CCE) is created and its School Zone program is honored as a "game changer" by the West Dallas Chamber of Commerce.

2012: (June) Dean David Chard is sworn-in by U.S. Secretary of State Arne Duncan as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences.

2012: (Spring) M.Ed. in Urban School Leadership becomes a part of the Alliance to Reform Educational Leadership with the Bush Institute.

2012: (February) Inaugural Research in Mathematics Education (RME) Research-to-Practice Conference held with more than 140 individuals in attendance.

2012: Upward Bound Math begins a Math-Science program.

2012: The McNair Scholars Program is established.

2012: The College Access Program receives a $2.4 Million dollar grant to implement the Educational Talent Search program.

2012: (January) The Simmons School's 2012 Luminary Awards ceremony honored The Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers, Avance, and Joan Ganz Cooney and Sesame Workshop.

2011: The Simmons School's 2011 Luminary Awards ceremony honored Israel Cordero, Neuhaus Education Center, and Teach for America.

2011: (November) Department of Education Policy & Leadership's inaugural Education Policy and Leadership Conference.

2011: (Fall) M.Ed. in Urban School Leadership launched in partnership with the Teaching Trust.

2011: The Research in Mathematics Education center is established.

2011: (Fall) M.Ed. in Higher Education launched.

2011: (Spring) The Dispute Resolution graduate program enters a partnership with the international, nonprofit Mediators Beyond Borders group.

2001 - 2010Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall

2010: (Fall) Simmons opens the Center for Academic Progress and Success (CAPS) center, which offers academic support services to children and teens.

2010: (Fall) The M.Ed. in Reading and Writing is launched.

2010: (September 24) Dedication of Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall.

2010: (August 9) Simmons School faculty and staff take occupancy of the new Simmons Hall.

2010: (August) The name of the Institute for Reading Research (IRR) is changed to the Institute for Evidence-Based Education (IEBE) in order to reflect the Institute's service to a broader variety of academic areas.

2010: (Spring) SMU's Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development co-sponsored the first two symposia in conjunction with the George W. Bush Institute on Afghan women, education and energy.

Laura Bush, Gerald Turner, Annette Caldwell Simmons, Margaret Spellings, and David Chard at the 2009 commencement ceremony.

2009: (Spring) SMU's bilingual education graduate program celebrates its 30th anniversary.

2009: (Fall) First semester in which undergraduate APSM courses are offered. First group of APSM majors inducted on November 8, 2009.

2009: (November 19) SMU's Simmons School honors three outstanding education leaders with its first annual Simmons Luminary Awards : former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, longtime Texas State Board of Education member Geraldine "Tincy" Miller, and St. Philip's School headmaster Dr. Terry J. Flowers.

2009: Former First Lady Laura Bush returns to SMU as the Commencement speaker for the class of 2009.

2009: (Summer) M.Ed. in Accelerated School Leadership launched.

2009: The Department of Teaching and Learning begins a M.Ed. in partnership with the Neuhaus Education Center in Houston.

2008: National Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs names Professor Rick Halperin, faculty member in the MLS program and director of SMU's Human Rights Program, as the year's recipient of its National Faculty Award.

2008: (December 5) SMU breaks ground on Annette Caldwell Simmons Hall.

2008: Girls Talk Back program is created, a one-week summer camp for young women entering the 11th grade allowing attendees to live on campus and take three courses pertaining to professional etiquette, communication and writing.

2008: (December) The Board of Trustees approves the creation of the Department of Education Policy & Leadership with an academic focus on preparing educators for leadership roles in complex school settings.

2008: (December) Applied Physiology and Sport Management undergraduate major is approved by the Board of Trustees.

2008: (Fall) Establishment of the Locomotor Performance Laboratory in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness; Dr. Peter Weyand is made director.

2008: (Fall) The Center for Family Counseling, a service center within the Department of Dispute Resolution and Counseling, opens at SMU-in-Plano.

2008: (October) Dr. Karen Vickery, director of the School's Learning Therapy Program, receives an International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) Innovator Award as an Outstanding Educator in a University.

2008: The Counseling Program's Center for Family Counseling opens a satellite clinic at the Resource Center in the Oaklawn area.

2008: (April) Assistant Professor Paige Ware selected as a recipient of the National Academy of Education Spencer Fellowship.

2007: (November 9) A landmark $20 million gift from Harold C. and Annette C. Simmons provides an endowment for SMU's School of Education and Human Development and the lead gift for a new building to house the School. The School is renamed the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development.

2007: Ph.D. in Education (with a research focus) is established.

2007: (June) David J. Chard, associate dean of the College of Education at the University of Oregon, is named dean of SMU's School of Education and Human Development and, as such, becomes the School's first permanent academic dean.

2006: The M.S. in Counseling program is established and creates the new Department of Dispute Resolution and Counseling.

2006: (June) Dr. Narayan Bhat, Dedman professor emeritus, is named Dean ad interim while the University conducts a formal search for a dean: July 2006 – August 2007.

2006: (Summer) The last summer in which a centralized summer school offered under the management of the Division of Education and Lifelong Learning.

2006: (June) Bob Patterson, the School's first dean, retires.

2006: Dispute Resolution program adds a Master's degree.

2005: (November) Dedication ceremony of the School of Education and Human Development; U.S. Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings, delivers keynote address.

2005: (October) Professor Bill Pulte, director of the Bilingual Education Program and associate professor of linguistic anthropology at SMU, receives the 2005 Higher Education Honoree award from the Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE).

2005: (March 7) SMU renews its commitment to the field of professional education by creating the School of Education and Human Development with specific areas of focus. SMU Board of Trustees votes to create the School in order to fill critical needs in the advancement of teacher training and research on language acquisition and literacy.

2003: Institute for Reading Research receives more than $9 million in grants and contracts.

2003: The Center for Mediation & Conflict Management is established to serve the communities of North Texas.

2002: With the help of a $1.5 million federal grant, SMU launches a graduate program that prepares teachers to teach gifted bilingual students.

2002: (Fall) The M.Ed. is launched.

2001: Texas Instruments (TI) Foundation funds SMU Institute for Reading Research with a $1.5 million to endow the faculty chair.

1990 - 2000

Outdoor sign that says, SMU in Plano

2000: (November)SMU merges its Center for Teacher Preparation with the Division of Extended and Continuing Studies to create a new academic unit, the Division of Education and Lifelong Learning.

1998: The Dispute Resolution Program is launched as a graduate certificate program.

1998: The Division of Evening, Summer, and Continuing Studies becomes the Division of Extended and Continuing Studies.

1998: Dispute Resolution program begins at the SMU-in-Plano campus. The first students to complete the program in 1999 earn graduate certificates in Dispute Resolution.

1990: The Music Educators Summer Workshop Series begins.

1990 (summer): The Master in Bilingual Education program is launched.

1990 (or before): The Division of Education and Lifelong Learning is renamed: the Division of Evening, Summer, and Continuing Studies.

1980 - 1990

1988: After much lobbying, an SMU educational facility is created in north Dallas, called SMU-in-Legacy. It later becomes known as SMU-in-Plano.

1987: Dr. Jamie Williams, who served on the Simmons Executive Board from 2009 – 2022, developed and launched the school’s Learning Therapy Program (accredited by both IMSLEC and IDA), which prepares teachers for Practitioner and Therapist level certificates. Dr. Williams' directorship was followed by Joyce Pike, Nell Carvel, and Karen Vickery.

1984: Bob Patterson, formerly dean of Extended and Continuing Studies, is appointed dean of the Division of Education and Lifelong Learning. Dr. Patterson championed early efforts to establish an SMU School of Education.

Mid 1980s: Division of Evening, Summer and Continuing Studies is created as the University extension division with the ability to offer evening courses at reduced tuition for part-time students.

1983: The Talented and Gifted Program begins—a 3-week on-campus program offering credit and non-credit college courses for qualified students having completed the seventh, eighth, or ninth grades.

A pair of High school students posing with cameras

1970 - 1980

1978: The College Experience program for high school youth is launched.

1976: Margaret McDermott, Dallas philanthropist and civic leader, receives an Honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from SMU.

1975: The national Association of Graduate Liberal Studies organization is founded with SMU as a Charter Member.

1974: Sheryl Leach, creator of the children's program Barney and advocate for quality, nonviolent children's programming, graduates with a B.A. in Elementary Education from SMU.

Early 1970s: All degree offerings within the Division are discontinued, although a minor in elementary or secondary education that leads to teacher certification remains. A Center for Teacher Certification is created.

1950 - 1970

1969: The first MLA course is taught.

1969: Former First Lady Laura Bush graduates from SMU with a degree in Elementary Education.

1968-9: Master of Liberal Arts program is announced, and 352 students began studies in the degree program during the first fall term. Professor Fred Bryson directs the program.

1967: The SMU Upward Bound program established.

1960s: Three departments within the School of Humanities and Sciences provide courses that prepare students for elementary teaching, secondary teaching, or related careers in school guidance, physical education, and speech pathology.

1960s: The University's noncredit evening enrichment courses, previously offered through Dallas College, are moved into an independent unit named the School of Continuing Education.

1956: The Informal Courses for Adults program begins.

1950: Doak Walker, the only Heisman Trophy Winner in SMU's history, graduates with a degree in Physical Education.

1940 - 1950

1948: Lawrence Herkimer, founder of the National Cheerleader's Association and creator of pom-poms, graduates from SMU with a B.S. Physical Education and develops the famous "Herkie" jump during his tenure as an SMU cheerleader.

1930 - 1940

1935: The School's roots are firmly embedded in Dallas College, the downtown evening college of SMU. Dallas College is directed by Dr. Clough and offers residence, correspondence, extension and group study courses.

1920 - 1930

1923 - 1934: The School of University Extension is the first iteration of the School of Education, directed by George Obadiah Clough, Ph.D.